NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand --
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, set up a Tactical Airfield Fuel Dispensing System aboard Wing One Royal Thai Air Force Base, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 2 in preparation of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
CG 14 is a joint, multinational exercise conducted annually in the Kingdom of Thailand aimed at enhancing and increasing multinational interoperability.
Marines set up two fuel bladders capable of holding 50,000 gallons of fuel each
“Currently, we have the capability of holding up to 100,000 gallons of fuel to service the squadrons that are here for this training exercise,” said Staff Sgt. Karina Villatoro, a bulk fuels specialist with MWSS-171. “We will be fueling the FA-18C Hornet aircraft from (Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232) and (Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242).”
The purpose behind a TAFDS is to assist in flight operations and can refuel aircraft on the runway in 10-15 minutes.
The process of setting up a TAFDS can be a strenuous process and requires a combination of personnel to set up, including motor transportation drivers, heavy equipment operators and refueler drivers.
“We have 18 Marines out here, including myself,” said Villatoro. “(The setup process) can range anywhere from a day and a half to three days depending on heavy equipment support, motor transportation and other logistic needs.”
With several different military occupational specialties working together, Marines have the opportunity to learn from each other.
“This type of training allows Marines to cross-train and teach one another,” said Sgt. Jonathan Kennedy, a bulk fuels specialist with MWSS-171. “Motor-T is able to cross-train with us and learn about our job as work side-by-side.”
With the TAFDS set up and the bladders filled with fuel, Marines with MWSS-171, both Motor-T and bulk fuel specialists, work together to get aircraft back in the air as fast as possible.